If you’re a small business that’s just starting out, the last thing you want to do is add more items to spend your budget on. Typically, entrepreneurs are looking for all kinds of ways to cut costs and only spend their budget on the kind of things that they truly need to advance their business.
When creating a marketing strategy, uploading blog posts, or making sure your social media pages are on brand, you will always be in need of high-quality imagery that makes your brand look classy and professional. However, taking all the photographs yourself is difficult, especially if you’re not that savvy of a photographer, and hiring someone to take a bunch of images is expensive. Along with that, if you’re really tight with money, you might not be willing to spend it on buying photographs from the internet.
So, what’s the best solution for you? Free stock images. In today’s article, we will be doing the work for you and introducing you to seven websites where you can find incredible stock photography for your business needs at no cost at all.
Let’s get started.
Why Do You Need Free Stock Photos?
Many people believe that getting images for free is some kind of scam. After all, these photos are available to literally any person with Internet access, so they either need to be better, or they are so overused to the point where everyone knows it’s stock photography. However, all those assumptions are wrong. In fact, many good photographers upload their images on the Internet as a way to establish a name for themselves or just to ensure that more people see their work. Along with that, there are plenty of “amateur” photographers who take incredible pictures and upload them on different platforms just for the fun of it. Using their great work is a way to enhance any and all marketing efforts that your business takes on.
Additionally, there are a few key benefits that you get as a company from using free stock photos. Let’s see what they are.
Avoid Licensing Issues
We all know how tempting it can be to download an image from a source without checking whether you can use it or not, especially if the image fits into your aesthetic and what you want to showcase in your campaign or website. However, the legal consequences of copyright infringement can be severe (and challenging to understand), and as a business that’s just starting out, you will want to avoid getting into legal troubles from the very start.
Free stock images are a great way to avoid that kind of situation from occurring. After all, they’re royalty-free, and the person who made them has agreed for them to be used free of charge. There are some situations where you can use photos only if you credit the author and so it’s a good idea to check the license requirements of a stock image before deciding to use it.
Save Time & Money
If you’ve ever attempted to do a photo shoot, you know that it’s not as easy or as glamorous as it looks online. It’s heavy work, and it’s a timely, costly process that requires the efforts of several people, including that of a professional photographer. So, rather than going to all the trouble to conduct a shoot, you can save yourself time and money by using free stock images from great photographers. You will save the cost of hiring a photographer as well as saving money by not having to hire models and props.
Improve Your Marketing
Opting not to use any images is never a good idea in our visual world. People nowadays notice brands mostly on social media or on their websites, and the kind of aesthetic you portray is key. The cool thing is that stock photos give you access to numerous images that you would otherwise find impossible to take – ones of specific locations, events, or even just high-quality pictures of your city or country. So, if you need a photo for your website or other branded materials, a stock image might just do the job for you.
Gain Credibility on Social Media
As we already mentioned, most companies are fighting the hard battle of getting noticed on social media platforms. When you consider the fact that dozens of brands upload content every day, standing out is a ridiculously difficult job that requires not only knowing your target audience but also creating content that fits its needs and interests. That’s where great graphic design work combined with stock images might help you stand out from the competition. Not only are posts with terrific imagery more likely to get noticed, but they also frequently get more engagement from the audience.
Using high-quality photos also makes your brand look credible and professional. It gives it its personal style and identity, ensuring that your audience members relate to the content and aesthetic of the company.
The Seven Best Websites for Getting Free Stock Images
Now, it’s highly likely that you knew about all the benefits that come with using stock images long before we decided to list them. However, even once you know that you need stock imagery, finding it becomes a daunting task at times, especially if you’re looking for niche photography and not for generic pictures that you can find almost everywhere. We’ve decided to make your job a tad easier for you by giving you this comprehensive list of the best websites for free stock images that you can use to get the perfect photo for all your marketing needs.
If we have to talk about the most popular websites for stock images, we cannot go on without mentioning Shutterstock.com and iStockphoto.com. However, the problem with them is that they tend to be very costly, even though they literally have a picture of every single thing on planet Earth. The other issue with them is that they’re already used by many brands, and their images get too “stock-looking” at one point.
The good thing is that there are alternatives that you can use, and quite a lot of them too.
Vecteezy is a website where you can find stock photos for free. When you compare this site to other ones that offer free stock images, there are a few things that make it stand out. Firstly, it has a robust search engine that enables you to filter pictures by style, the number of people, colors, orientation, and so on. This makes it easier for you to find the right photo for your needs and lower the amount of time you have to spend scrolling. Secondly, it provides property releases and signed models for all free photos where that’s needed. This ensures that users and their designs are free of legal liabilities – something that’s often overlooked by sites that offer free stock photos. Additionally, the people who work at Vecteezy review each photo that gets uploaded to the platform to make sure that it’s of good quality. This means that all the content you find on the website has already been curated.
Freepik is a terrific search engine that helps you find the kind of high-quality photos and other visuals that you may need to use, including infographics, PSD files, and illustrations. It can be used for any kind of project and gives you access to numerous graphic resources that will make your content stand out. Freepik’s one-of-a-kind search engine enables you to filter by orientation, style, color, resource, and so on.
Pixabay is a pretty popular website with a large database that contains all kinds of images. It’s more orientated towards marketing and business compared to other popular platforms. Additionally, it gives users access to free illustrations and vectors, something that can be useful if that kind of imagery fits with the overall aesthetics of your brand.
Stockvault is a terrific source for getting wallpapers, textures, and stock photos for free. It doesn’t have the biggest collection of images out there, but it’s still worth knowing about it, as you can find a ton of hidden gems. Additionally, the platform is really well curated and gets daily additions, which means that you can always find fresh photos for your next marketing effort. Along with that, it has a decent search engine and is always divided by categories, which makes the process of looking for images a bit easier compared to other platforms.
When scrolling through Unsplash, you will get a sense that it’s a collection of images made by loads of different photographers, and that feeling will be completely accurate. Unsplash has an extensive database of all kinds of photographs, and as of recently, it has started to offer both free and paid options. It combines the work of professional photographers and amateur ones to curate some of the best stock photography out there. All the work uploaded on the platform is released under the Unsplash license, which makes it safe to use. Additionally, it has many categories and a good search engine in order to make looking for photos easier and more streamlined.
Burst was created by Shopify, and its main idea was to provide entrepreneurs with free stock images that could be used for their online shops. Some of the photos on the platform are licensed under Creative Commons CC0, while others use Shopify’s own photo license.
Burst can be used to make your marketing campaigns and website look better, as that was the overall idea behind its creation. Most of the photos there are originals that were taken specifically for that purpose and are usually themed around business niches that are currently popular. There are many kinds of photos uploaded on Burst, from DIY efforts to sneakers and so on.
Unlike most of the websites we discussed until now, Gratisography can’t offer you pages upon pages of free stock images to scroll through. However, it does have some of the weirdest, quirkiest images that you can find online – ones that you will likely be unable to find anywhere else but on this platform. That includes things like young kids’ spray painting or an alarm clock that looks like it’s on a different planet.
The website as a whole is nothing impressive, and you could even say that its color scheme is sort of distracting, with all of the cartoon-like elements and funky colors. However, photos are neatly organized into nine categories: Animals, Fashion, Food, Business, Objects, Urban, People, Whimsical, and Nature. Not all of them come in many different sizes, but they’re all high-quality and suitable for marketing materials.
If you want to create something more odd or creative, this website might be just the one for you.
Hopefully, this article helped you find not only a great website for free stock photos but also gave you an understanding of why such images are useful and why they’re a terrific idea for start-ups and small businesses. As a business owner, you always have to take advantage of everything free that comes your way and enhances your company, and free stock images don’t only save you money but also a ton of time.
The most important part of using free stock images is the curation process. If you’re not choosing the most fitting photographs, your marketing materials will look unoriginal and “stock-like,” which is something that you want to avoid at all costs. Remember, it’s always better to take the extra time to find the perfect photograph that fits your brand’s aesthetic instead of jumping on the first photo you find that remotely resembles what you need for your marketing effort.
If you want to learn more about digital marketing and creating content, head on over and enjoy some more of our articles on the Camberlion website. If you’re just here for some quick tips and tricks, then you can find more of the same on our social media pages, where we post content every week. Hope to see you there!